VIDEO: Alki rally, march urges freedom for Lolita, last surviving captive Puget Sound killer whale

January 17, 2015 at 3:19 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people, Wildlife | 11 Comments

(WSB photos/video by Patrick Sand)
A gathering this afternoon around West Seattle’s replica of a powerful symbol of human freedom was organized in hopes of winning freedom for a fellow mammal held captive thousands of miles away:

Taken from her family and her Puget Sound home more than 40 years ago, the orca known as Lolita (originally Tokitae), a member of L-Pod, has spent all that time in a tank at the Miami Seaquarium. Of the dozens of killer whales captured all those years ago, she is the last survivor. This afternoon’s Alki gathering was in support of a larger rally in Miami, stepping up the pressure for Lolita to be “retired” and returned home.

From Alki Statue of Liberty Plaza, advocates, many with signs, headed on a one-mile march along the beach – here’s our video:

We estimated at least 150 supporters here; MiamiHerald.com estimates a thousand participants at today’s rally there. They heard from Howard Garrett of the Whidbey Island-based Orca Network, describing the plan already proposed for reintroducing Lolita to the wild via a sea pen in the San Juans. It’s not new, but there is a potential milestone driving the new attention – a federal ruling expected this month on whether Lolita will be officially included in the listing of endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales. That would not guarantee freedom for her, but could at least step up the pressure. According to the Miami Herald, the Seaquarium says flatly she’s not for sale and shouldn’t be freed. Meantime, back at Alki, Lolita’s supporters came from all age groups:

Advocates said that other support rallies were planned in San Diego, Los Angeles, Colorado Springs, Germany, and the UK.

Celebration of Life tomorrow for Joe Fine, 1938-2015

January 16, 2015 at 6:03 pm | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 4 Comments

Those who knew and loved Joe Fine are invited to his Celebration of Life tomorrow, 11 am-3 pm, at Duke’s on Alki. Here’s the remembrance that his family is sharing:

Joe Fine, 76, of West Seattle, passed away on Monday, January 5, 2015 from pancreatic cancer.

Joe was a legend to all that had the honor of knowing him. Born December 17, 1938 in Valentine, Nebraska to Mary Lamoureaux, he would spend his earliest years in Valentine at the family ranch just over the border in South Dakota. After WWII, he was adopted by William Fine, and the family settled in Billings, Montana, where Joe would graduate from high school. He attended and graduated from The University of Montana in Missoula. While there he was an active member of the Phi Delt house, where he was known as “Shakey.”

After graduating, he married Sharon Sayre and together they had two sons: William Glen and Gregory Joseph. He was a successful sales rep for Standard Oil and then Carpenter Paper before settling in Kalispell, Montana, where he owned a number of businesses including Joe’s Varsity, The Jean Factory, and Clothes Gallery. Whether he was creating award-winning promotions like Levi Clause and the Jean Advisor, or later selling diamonds in retail, doing remodel construction, or the nearly ten years he spent at Home Depot in the Garden Department, Joe is remembered for his entrepreneurial spirit and almost magical salesmanship.

All along the way, Joe collected a diverse group of friends that remained close throughout his life:

Click to read the rest of Celebration of Life tomorrow for Joe Fine, 1938-2015…

Adam Cozens: West Seattle-raised comedian coming home this month: ‘I think I’m doing the best stand-up of my life’

January 11, 2015 at 3:20 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people, WS culture/arts | 3 Comments

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

“In general, when I look back at where I was and where I wanted to be, if I knew I would be doing the things I’m doing now, I’d be so ecstatic.”

That’s how comic Adam Cozens, a West Seattle native, sums up what’s transpired in the four years since last we checked in with him. He had already been pursuing his dreams in New York for a few years when we interviewed him during holiday-season visits home in 2009 and 2010.

Then in December, he e-mailed WSB to let us know he’ll be back in the area this month, starting with a headliner show at Comedy Underground on January 21st. So we talked with him by phone to find out what’s changed in the four-plus years since he was last here doing a Seattle stand-up show while visiting family (his parents are still here in West Seattle, where, as we first noted in 2009, he attended Schmitz Park Elementary, Madison Middle School, West Seattle High School, and Seattle Lutheran High School).

One big change: He lives in Los Angeles now. (Pasadena, to be specific.) But that might not be the biggest.

Click to read the rest of Adam Cozens: West Seattle-raised comedian coming home this month: ‘I think I’m doing the best stand-up of my life’…

West Seattle High School senior Taryn Smith is Miss Seattle 2015

January 10, 2015 at 9:53 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 6 Comments

9:53 PM: Another victory of note tonight: Congratulations to West Seattle High School senior Taryn Smith, just crowned Miss Seattle 2015! More info to come.

ADDED SUNDAY MORNING: Thank you to Melinda Fredericks for the photos. She says Taryn is also varsity cheer captain at WSHS and, “She is an amazing woman, fantastic leader and will do even more amazing things in the future!” The Miss Seattle competition is part of the Miss America program. P.S. Video from the announcement last night is here.

West Seattle Hack Night 2.0: Date set – now it’s RSVP time!

January 6, 2015 at 4:23 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle online, West Seattle people | 1 Comment

(WSB photo, November 2014 West Seattle Hack Night)
Back in November, the first-of-its-kind West Seattle Hack Night drew a bigger-than-expected turnout at WS Office Junction north of Morgan Junction – and now the date’s set for the next one. The announcement comes from OJ co-proprietor Stefan Hansmire:

The Office Junction will be hosting a FREE computer/coder hack night on Wednesday, January 14th from 6:30-9:00. Snacks and beverages provided. The agenda for the evening will be open – with the goal of fielding participants to learn what kind of applications they are working on so that we can tailor a future class with more focus.

You can RSVP now via the Meetup group set up before the November event – go here.

From West Seattle to Kurdistan: John Murphy’s work with Yezidi refugees fleeing ISIL

January 6, 2015 at 11:56 am | In How to help, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 7 Comments

(John Murphy with Yezidi children; photo used with permission)
A West Seattle man is starting the New Year thousands of miles from home, working to help refugees who fled northern Iraq for Kurdistan. John Murphy is a Highland Park resident who, among other things, founded and leads The Cabiri. Right now, he is working to help Yezidi refugees, members of an ethnic minority forced from their homes by ISIL, which has targeted them with genocidal violence (here are reports from U.S. media and the BBC).

While nonprofit non-government organizations (NGOs) are helping some of the Yezidi refugees, others have taken shelter with relatives and sympathizers in towns around the region, and they are who Murphy is helping. We learned of his work via West Seattleite Lola Peters, who forwarded a message from Murphy that explains, “I’ve known Yezidi for two decades and have an ability to work within their culture. … The NGOs, although doing their best, they have lost people in the cracks. I am working with a private Yezidi collective to find needs, fulfill them, and mitigate hardships in the areas that have gotten (missed).”

Murphy has set up an emergency fund for the Yezidi refugees via this GoFundMe page, where you can read a short summary of his project. He also writes about it in-depth today at SeattleStar.net, noting, “Regardless of the largest refugee exodus since the Armenian genocide, few know exactly what is happening,” and concluding, “We in the West made this mess; let’s clean it up.” (While researching this, we happened onto a mention that U.S. military operations related to ISIL have cost $1 billion so far.)

Remembering Judy Lyn Sweetland, 1939-2014

January 3, 2015 at 4:12 pm | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 3 Comments

Family and friends are paying tribute to Judy Lyn Sweetland, who died on New Year’s Eve at age 75. Here’s the remembrance they’re sharing with the community:

Judy Lyn (Crosslin) Sweetland

Judy Lyn Sweetland passed away on December 31, 2014 after a long battle with an autoimmune disease.

Judy was born in Yuma, Arizona, on September 16, 1939 to Marvin Thomas Crosslin and Theopa LeVal Piester. She spent her childhood in Yuma, Arizona; Brownfield & Fort Worth, Texas; and Yakima, Washington. In 1960, she graduated from St. Elizabeth School of Nursing as a registered nurse; got married; and moved to Seattle. After raising her children, she moved back to Arizona, longing to have more sunshine in her life (1987). Finally, she would return to Seattle to be closer to family (1995).

Her years in Arizona brought great personal growth. She lived in Wickenburg, Arizona, and worked at The Meadows, a residential treatment center for addictions; and at Rancho del los Caballeros, a guest ranch. While working at The Meadows, she wrote a self-help book for depression, The Sun Always Rises. It was written in response to patients’ requests for something in writing to support what they were learning during their recovery. While in Arizona, she learned the Krieger-Kunz model of Therapeutic Touch. Therapeutic Touch would then become her focus for the remainder of her life. She would treat, teach, and lead workshops, and lead meditations on spirituality and the energy connections to all that is around us.

Friends and family would describe Judy as: reflective, spiritual, loving, kind, caretaker, loyal friend, independent, connected, followed her calling as both a nurse and healer. She drew her energy from nature and loved to hike. Friends, family, and personal connections were extremely important to her.

Early in her nursing career, she was given the assignment to sit with a dying patient and his wife through the night. It was a very long night. She rotated holding each of their hands, while pondering how this was nursing. In the morning, the wife told her, “Thank you for sitting with me.” At that moment, she understood the power of providing compassionate support. She would then do that the rest of her life.

Judy was one of five siblings. She is survived by her brother Ken Crosslin (his two children Don and Thomas) and wife Dorothy; sister Carole Wimer (her husband Vern and their children Trever, Tracy, and Trisha); her two children Carl and John; Carl’s wife Debbie; and two grandchildren, Daphne and Sam. Both sons reside in West Seattle.

Private service will be held. Memorial donations to Indralaya (Eastsound, WA) in her remembrance are welcomed.

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to editor@westseattleblog.com)

New achievement for West Seattle’s top ump Kayleen Dunson, as she prepares to plunge (will you join her on the beach or field?)

December 31, 2014 at 10:10 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people, WS & Sports | 1 Comment

If you’re going to tomorrow’s 10 am Polar Bear Swim at Alki Beach – watch for the softball umpires who are doing it again this year. Leading the way will be West Seattle’s Kayleen Dunson, who shares the news of a big achievement in her storied career as an ump:

Kayleen Dunson, the Umpire in Chief for Seattle/Tacoma, and West Seattle resident, just earned ELITE Umpire Status from USA/ASA Softball.

Less than 1 percent of the 30,000 USA/ASA softball umpires in the country earn their Elite Umpire Status. It is the highest award for an American umpire. Kayleen joins just 14 other umpires in the Seattle area who have earned their Elite.

Only umpires who have earned their Elite Status are eligible to apply to become certified International Softball Federation (ISF) umpires – and only ISF umpires can work international championships – like the Olympics!

Kayleen will try for her ISF certification this July. And it’s looking like softball may make it’s way back into the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. Could she be selected to represent the United States there? It’s possible.

But Kayleen isn’t about the glory. “I do this because I’m having so much fun,” she said. She and about 15 other softball umpires will be “Polar Plunging” at Alki on New Year’s Day. “Umpiring is a family – like any family we have the ‘Steady Eddies’ and the ‘Crazies.’ On New Years Day a bunch of my like-minded ‘Crazies’ join me for a Plunge into Puget Sound – in full uniform. It’s a bond as strong as any family bond.”

Seattle needs about 50 new Softball Umpires this year. If you are interested, check out their website at www.smsua.org – or contact “Krazy Kayleen” at umpkayleen@outlook.com.

Kayleen adds an update about two people who signed up after past reports here: “West Seattle umpires Shani Neamen and Mike Katz both umpired their first National Championship Tournament this past summer. They did awesome!”

Memorial service Sunday for Mary Jane Erlewine, 1932-2014

December 31, 2014 at 9:12 am | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | Comments Off

In the days ahead, family and friends are saying goodbye to Mary Jane Erlewine, who died last week at 82. Here’s the remembrance sent to us to share with you:

Mary Jane Erlewine, a longtime resident of West Seattle, passed away on Friday, December 26th.

Mary Jane was born on April 23rd, 1932 in Detroit, Michigan. She graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in nursing. She put her education to use as a registered nurse with Group Health Cooperative for over 25 years. She was married to Lewis Erlewine from 1958 until his death in 2000. She is survived by her sons Jim Erlewine, Tom Erlewine, Robert Erlewine, daughter-in-law Traci, granddaughter Christina, grandson Michael, brother Charles Gillece & his wife Beverly, sister Dolores Mehringer & husband Otto, and numerous nieces & nephews.

She was full of life and had a kind and generous spirit. Visiting new places, meeting new people, the symphony, the ballet, Alki Beach and her cabin on Ohop Lake in Eatonville brought joy to her life. Her laugh was infectious and will be missed very, very much.

Please join us for a celebration of her life. All are welcome. If you are unable to attend, celebrate by saying a prayer, sharing a memory &/or paying it forward.

Visitation
Saturday, January 3, 2015 at 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
Forest Lawn Funeral Home, 6701 30th Avenue SW

Service
Sunday, January 4, 2015 at 3 pm
Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Parish, 7000 35th Avenue SW

Burial
Monday, January 5th at 11:00 am
Calvary Cemetery, 5041 35th Avenue NE

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to editor@westseattleblog.com)

Update: Missing 21-year-old found, police taking him home

December 26, 2014 at 9:47 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 21 Comments

9:47 PM: The family of a 21-year-old man with Down syndrome says he is overdue from his usual walk around the block – he’s usually gone an hour or so but has been gone now for four hours – and they hope you can help find him. His name is Michael and he is 5’3″, about 190 pounds, dark hair, wearing a checkered “newsboy”-type cap, in a dark jacket and black shorts. He lives near 49th and Alaska and usually walks around the block a few times. He doesn’t have ID or money on him and his family is worried that even if he is lost, he won’t ask for help – also, he won’t be able to tell you his exact address. Police have been looking for Michael and haven’t found him – if you’ve seen him, please call 911.

10:50 PM: Just heard via scanner, police have found Michael (around 46th/Charlestown) and will be taking him home. (Added – his mom has confirmed this, too.)

West Seattle’s Masonic Lodge #152: Changes inside and out

December 21, 2014 at 5:08 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 8 Comments

(Photo by Long Bach Nguyen)
At lower-center in our top photo, that’s the Alki Masonic Center in The Junction, the biggest structure still standing on the 40th/Alaska/Fauntleroy/Edmunds block, where The Whittaker soon will rise to the north and east. That project’s developer is giving the center’s parking lot a major regrade and upgrade because of the impact – you can see that in the photo too, with its new asphalt and striping. But those aren’t the only changes for the center-headquartered Alki Masonic Lodge #152, which dates back more than a century. On Saturday, the public was invited to its leadership installation. Below, outgoing Worshipful Master Bob Rice:

Installed to succeed him, the Lodge’s new WM, Martin Monk:

Also installed were Bill Van Cleave, Senior Warden; Michael Sawyer, Junior Warden; Richard Syson, Secretary; and Gary Langenbach, Treasurer. If you haven’t been involved with Lodge #152 or its auxiliary/associated groups, you might know its headquarters best as a rentable hall that’s home to many community events each year, such as the Kiwanis Club of West Seattle pancake-breakfast benefit in early December, and some sponsored by the Lodge itself, such as the annual School Awards. The hall’s calendar for 2015, laid out in the program for Saturday’s ceremony, even includes plans to participate in the WSB-presented West Seattle Community Garage Sale Day on May 9th.

Memorial on Friday for WWII veteran ‘Chet’ Neiswender, 1925-2014

December 15, 2014 at 8:55 pm | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | Comments Off

A memorial service is planned Friday morning for Chester “Chet” Neiswender, whose family shares this remembrance:

Chester E. Neiswender, 1/29/1925-11/25/2014

Chester (Chet) E. Neiswender passed quietly November 25, 2014. He leaves his loving family: Wife, Mary; stepchildren: Nancy McCreery, Rick Gay, Janine Cox; 8 wonderful grandchildren; and 5 beautiful great grandchildren. Chet is also survived by 3 sisters: Evelyn, Ester and Marji, who all had numerous children. Chet had 8 biological children, 11 biological grandchildren, and several biological great grandchildren.

Chet was a WWII veteran, driving big trucks like amphibious vehicles where he helped get soldiers onto the beach from the landing crafts at Okinawa, Japan, and the Philippine Islands. He was still in touch with a friend in Connecticut, the last surviving war buddy. We will all miss the wonderful stories from those exciting ,and sometimes horrifying, times.

Born in Hobart, WA, Chet was a lifelong resident of King County. He was a veritable wealth of historical information.

Click to read the rest of Memorial on Friday for WWII veteran ‘Chet’ Neiswender, 1925-2014…

Remembering Bjorg Orlob, 1943-2014, who ‘died happy among loved ones’

December 14, 2014 at 7:55 pm | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 5 Comments

Family and friends gathered this weekend to remember Bjorg Orlob, who died last week at age 71. Here’s the remembrance looking back at her life:

Bjorg Olea Orlob passed away on 12/5/2014. Born Bjorg Solheim in Andoya, Norway, in the midst of the Nazi occupation on 9/26/1943, she emigrated to the USA at an early age. She grew up learning both American and Norwegian cultures and values, and embodied the best of both. She attended school in Bothell, and graduated Bothell HS in 1961. She already began collecting friends she would keep for life before she got her dream gift – a one-way ticket to Oslo – for her high-school graduation.

Once in Norway, she continued to make friends. She spent time working in Belgium as well as Oslo, and always took the time to love the places she visited and the people who inhabited them. Her travels took her many places, including much of Europe and parts of Africa.

Once she returned to the USA, she was introduced to the cousin of a high-school friend, and quickly fell in love with Carl Orlob, a US Naval Aviator.

Click to read the rest of Remembering Bjorg Orlob, 1943-2014, who ‘died happy among loved ones’…

Congratulations! Chief Sealth IHS teacher Noah Zeichner chosen as finalist for international prize

December 8, 2014 at 2:02 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 5 Comments

Chief Sealth International High School social-studies teacher Noah Zeichner has been announced as one of 50 finalists for a $1 million international award, the Global Teacher Prize. As pointed out in the Seattle Times (WSB partner) report on the announcement, Zeichner was honored by the Seattle-based World Affairs Council last March as Global Educator of the Year. One of his best-known projects at Sealth is World Water Week, which he co-founded with a then-student. From the 50 finalists, a Top 10 list will be announced in February, and the winner in March. You can see the full list of finalists from around the world by going here.

West Seattle scene: Cheering for the Hawks, with expert guest

December 7, 2014 at 4:19 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people, WS & Sports | Comments Off

Go, Hawks! The photo and report on a one-of-a-kind viewing party happening right now are from Southwest Seattle Historical Society executive director Clay Eals:

Enjoying the ‘Hawks at Alki Fatburger with expert commentary from NFL coach Ken Flajole and supporting the Southwest Seattle Historical Society — what could be more fun on a Seattle Sunday? Flajole (lower left), former 16-year assistant coach of four NFL teams including the Seattle Seahawks, joined Eric Bell (to Flajole’s left) and seven of Eric’s buddies to take in the ‘Hawks/Philadelphia Eagles game this afternoon at Alki Fatburger, which donated the lunch at the SWSHS 2014 Champagne Gala Brunch. Others in the group (counter-clockwise from Eric) were Ricardo Cruz, Scott McClellan, Alex Shearer, Robert Ponselle, Lindsey Smith (Alki Fatburger manager), Christopher Goethe, Liz Day (the volunteer who put this Gala package together), Charles Smith, and Robin Warma.

More info here; here’s our coverage of the SWSHS gala on November 8th.

Remembering Mary Annie Belle Taylor, 1919-2014

December 4, 2014 at 9:00 am | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 10 Comments

From Texas to West Seattle over the span of 95 years, Mary Annie Belle Taylor lived a good life, as shared by her family in this remembrance:

Mary Annie Belle Taylor
May 17, 1919 – December 3, 2014

Mary Annie Belle Taylor was born on her family’s ranch in Brookshire, TX on May 17, 1919. The youngest of six siblings, she loved ranch life, especially riding horses. She began documenting her family in photographs with a Brownie camera she received for her fourth birthday. Her collection of photographs documenting three generations of the Hughes family is part of the Smithsonian Institution’s collection of Americana.

Ms. Taylor moved to Los Angeles, CA in the 1950s and married the love of her life, Morris Taylor. She was among the first African Americans to attend culinary school, and became a chef and nutritionist in the 1960s. She managed a hospital kitchen until she retired in the late 1970s. Though childless herself, she served as favorite aunt to many nieces and nephews as well as neighborhood children, many of whom learned to cook in her kitchen.

Post-retirement, she moved to Silver Spring, MD, to be closer to family. A believer in action over words, Ms. Taylor worked with her local church to start a food program for elderly people living in her senior retirement community. Well into her late 80s, she used her beautiful tenor voice to telephone her “old folks,” read to them from the Bible, and sing to them.

In 2005 Ms. Taylor moved to West Seattle. Though health kept her from being an active member, she joined First AME Church in Seattle. In her final years, she was cared for by the wonderful staff at Providence ElderPlace to whom the family extends deep gratitude for their kindness, gentleness, and respect.

Ms. Taylor died peacefully the morning of Wednesday, December 3, 2014 after a long illness. Predeceased by her husband and all of her siblings, she is survived by loving nieces, nephews, and extended family throughout the country.

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to editor@westseattleblog.com)

Congratulations, Miles! 9-year-old runs Seattle Half-Marathon

December 1, 2014 at 1:20 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people, WS & Sports | 6 Comments

When 9-year-old Miles Trius returns to school at Our Lady of Guadalupe after Thanksgiving break, he has something big to talk about: His second half-marathon. The Seattle Marathon half-marathon on Sunday was the second half-marathon Miles has run with his dad, Navy Chief Ernesto Trius, who says they have run together for the past year and a half. Miles “looks forward to a marathon in his future when he is able to compete (age 12).” He runs cross-country/track for OLG in CYO Athletics. According to the Seattle Marathon online results, Miles finished in 2:17:39.

Celebration of life Sunday for Kerrie Yeasting, 1970-2014

November 28, 2014 at 6:22 pm | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 3 Comments

A memorial service/celebration of life is planned this Sunday for Kerrie Yeasting, 44. Here’s the remembrance that’s being shared:

Kerrie Manolovitz Yeasting of Seattle died Thursday, November 20, 2014.

Kerrie was born on June 20, 1970 in Kodiak, Alaska. She loved the outdoors and exploring and photographing nature. Kerrie moved to West Seattle as a teenager and graduated from Seattle Lutheran High School. She went on to start a family in West Seattle, where she was active in co-op preschool and Alki Elementary PTA leadership for her boys Owen and Vic. She worked in business administration and human resources, and briefly owned the children’s store Chickadees in the West Seattle Junction. She recently moved from Seattle to North Bend, and spent the last couple months traveling through the Southwestern United States with her partner Scott.

Kerrie is survived by her two sons Owen and Victor Yeasting, mother Suzanne Carney, father Ken Manolovitz, brother Quint Manolovitz, sisters Annissa Manolovitz and Joi Bommarito-Lee, grandmother Phyllis Frederickson, partner Scott Robertson, ex-husband John Yeasting, and all of their extended families and the larger community of friends who will forever miss her and the indelible mark she left on many lives.

Services will be held at 2 pm, Sunday, November 30, 2014, at The Hall at Fauntleroy, and will include a celebration of life reception.

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to editor@westseattleblog.com)

Thanksgiving Day extra: West Seattle reasons for thankfulness

November 27, 2014 at 10:58 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 6 Comments

(EDITOR’S NOTE: As we wrap up this day devoted to thankfulness, we bring you this story by West Seattle writer Lori Hinton – author of West Seattle 101, with highlights featured here on WSB – looking at some of your neighbors and their reasons for thanks. This was first published on the West Seattle Junction Association website.)

(Will Valentine with Squish the cat)

By Lori Hinton
Special to West Seattle Blog

On a bright, crisp fall day, stroll the streets of The Junction and you’ll find West Seattlelites are eager to share their sunny dispositions. Ask them what they’re thankful for, and many will smile and tell you they are just happy to be here.

“I am thankful for the smell of the salt water in the air on the way in to work,“ beams Katie Barnhardt of Northwest Art & Frame.

Local bike rider Ed Lebel says, “I’m thankful that my dad was raised here so I was too.” Lebel loves to ride what he calls the “tour de West Seattle” around the beach.

“I am thankful for Lincoln Park and all the natural spaces in West Seattle,” smiles resident Maija Wade. “We have two kids and we love it here!”

But on top of being thankful for our amazing nature with beaches, parks, and recreational opportunities galore, West Seattle has something more: Heart.

Click to read the rest of Thanksgiving Day extra: West Seattle reasons for thankfulness…

Followup: ‘Lunches With Love’ volunteers feed hundreds

November 27, 2014 at 6:06 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 6 Comments

On Thanksgiving Eve, volunteers of all ages gathered to make sure hundreds on West Seattle’s streets would have something to eat. The photos are courtesy of Lashanna Williams, who told us on Monday about her family-friends-and-other-helpers tradition, Lunches With Love.

Lashanna reports, “Hundreds of people were helped. Over 900 sandwiches and over 500 sack lunches. A streetside Thanksgiving dinner with 2 turkeys, salad, rolls, pie and drinks were hand delivered to people around Seattle.” And she thanks everyone who helped, “in whichever way you did – everything matters.”

West Seattle giving: 8-year-old Joseph’s one-day food drive

November 24, 2014 at 11:56 pm | In How to help, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 20 Comments

The spirit of giving can start young. These pictures show what 8-year-old Joseph Meats, a third grader at Our Lady of Guadalupe, did this past weekend. His mom Christi Meats explains, “He wanted to do something nice for Thanksgiving and the up and coming holidays so he decided to go door to door and ask for food for the food bank!” So they distributed a flyer to some homes in Admiral and Arbor Heights last Thursday asking that people leave food donations on their doorstep for pickup yesterday.

Today, he brought it all to the West Seattle Food Bank after school.

His mom adds, “His goal is to inspire others so it was fun to watch him succeed in raising awareness as he left his wagon out during the Seahawk game and people kept dropping off food!” (And if you’re inspired – contact the WS Food Bank directly, or keep an eye on our daily calendar previews and Holiday Guide for giving opportunities of all kinds.)

Memorial tomorrow for Frank Henry Little, 1925-2014

November 24, 2014 at 9:09 am | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 3 Comments

A memorial is planned tomorrow at Hope Lutheran Church for Frank H. Little, who died last week. His family shares this remembrance:

Frank Henry Little, 89, stepped into Heaven on November 20th, 2014.

He was born at home in West Seattle to Ed and Hattie Little. He married the love of his life, Lorraine, in 1948, and they were happily married for 66 years. Frank is survived by Lorraine, daughters Sharon (Bob) and Donna (Mark), and son Gordon (Debbie); 7 grandchildren – Chris, Jason, Brian, Curtis, Ryan, Matt, and Nicole; 14 great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, brothers Ed, Gerald, Bill, and sister Henrietta.

Frank was a master carpenter and gardner, loved to laugh and have fun, and dearly loved time with his family. Always willing to help out friends and family, he truly had a servant’s heart (With a smile). A celebration of his life and funeral service will be held Tuesday, Nov. 25th, at 10 am at Hope Lutheran Church, 4456 42nd Ave SW. Remembrances may be made to the Alzheimer Association.

I run toward the goal, so that I can win the prize of being called to Heaven. This is the prize that God offers because of what Christ Jesus has done – Phil 3:14

We love you and will see you in Heaven :)

(WSB publishes obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to editor@westseattleblog.com)

Aaron’s Kids Swim Program launched with family’s gift to the Y

November 22, 2014 at 8:55 pm | In How to help, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 6 Comments

(YMCA photo: L-R, Raymond Mann, Kathryn Mann, Allison Wherry, Josh Sutton)
Thanks to the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) for sharing the news that the legacy of a favorite Y staffer will live on, as an endowment started by his family, who presented the launch donation this week (photo above). Here’s the announcement from the Y:

An endowment fund is being established in remembrance of Aaron William Mann. Aaron was an employee and volunteer of the West Seattle YMCA and previously worked at YMCAs in Anchorage and Colorado Springs. During his more than 20 years at the Y, Aaron was a lifeguard, swimming instructor and a teacher of thousands of kids, families and members. More than anything, Aaron enjoyed teaching and being around “his kids,” and had a special gift for turning their hard work into fun. Aaron taught them swimming and water safety skills, along with life skills. Aaron’s Kids Swim Program is intended to honor his memory and continue his loving support of Y kids.

Aaron’s parents, Kathryn and Raymond Mann, are establishing the endowment fund with an initial donation of $20,000. The purpose of the fund is to “Provide scholarships to kids and families for participation in the West Seattle YMCA aquatics programs.” Scholarships will be awarded to kids and families to offset the costs of swim lessons and aquatics activities. Funds may also be use to purchase aquatics equipment, particularly to meet the needs of kids’ swim programs.

The Mann family has also pledged to match the first $10,000 of incoming donations to the fund and to actively solicit continuing donations to the fund, with a first-year goal of a $50,000 endowment. Once established, the program will be managed andadministered by the West Seattle YMCA. All donations will be tax deductible in keeping with the YMCA’s non-profit status.

Thank you to the Mann family for their generous endowment and also for helping us keep Aaron’s spirit of service alive in all of us.

Aaron Mann was just 44 when he died this past June. Contact the Y for information about donating to the new program.

Memorial on Monday for Army, Air Force veteran Chad Hammond

November 22, 2014 at 5:08 pm | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 9 Comments

44-year-old Chad Hammond will be remembered at a funeral with military honors on Monday. His family is sharing this remembrance:

Chad Preston Hammond was born in Gaffney, South Carolina on October 29, 1969. He passed away on October 22, 2014 at his home in West Seattle, just a few days shy of his 45th birthday.

Chad was a retired military veteran, having spent 5 years in the Army and 14 years in the Air Force Reserves. While in the Army, Chad was based out of Fort Lewis and also spent three years overseas in Panama. He worked out of McChord AFB for his Reserve duty. He was activated several times during his time in the Reserves, including time spent supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. Chad also held civilian jobs during his time in the Reserves and after his retirement.

Throughout the years, he worked a medical assistant, heavy equipment operator, and a semi-truck driver. Chad loved to do thrilling, adrenaline-pumping activities such as sky-diving, scuba diving, cliff jumping, and dirt bike & motorcycle riding. He also loved sports, and when his sons were younger, he volunteered as an umpire for West Seattle Little League Baseball. Chad was very much loved by his family and friends and is greatly missed. He is survived by his three sons Tyler, Bryce, and Jacob Hammond of West Seattle, his parents Robert and Linda Hammond of Dayton, TX, and his brothers, Kyle Hammond of Flagstaff, Arizona and Justin Hammond of Crawfordville, Florida. There will be a military funeral for Chad on Monday, November 24th at 11:00 AM at Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent, where he will also be laid to rest.

(WSB publishes obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to editor@westseattleblog.com)

Carrie Akre returns to West Seattle, explores world beyond music

November 19, 2014 at 7:19 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 19 Comments

(Photo courtesy Carrie Akre)
By Keri DeTore
Reporting for West Seattle Blog

Many of Seattle’s talented icons call West Seattle home, from photographer Art Wolfe to Pearl Jam‘s Eddie Vedder. Now another icon has returned to our fold: singer/songwriter Carrie Akre.

If you don’t quite recognize her name, you probably know of the Seattle-based bands she led: Hammerbox, Goodness, or the Rockfords, and you would definitely recognize her voice; soulful and bluesy, but clear as a sunny winter’s day on Puget Sound.

After a break from the music scene and from the West Coast, Carrie returned to West Seattle this year. We sat down with her at the Admiral Bird to discuss the past few years, and what the future holds, professionally, musically, and personally.

Besides writing, playing and singing in bands Akre wrote and produced solo albums including “Invitation” in 2002 and “…Last the Evening” in 2007, efforts that she says left her “burnt crispy” from exhaustion.

Click to read the rest of Carrie Akre returns to West Seattle, explores world beyond music…

Friday memorial for Don Knodel, 89, barber-shop owner and more

November 19, 2014 at 10:13 am | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 7 Comments

This Friday afternoon at Forest Lawn, family and friends will gather to say goodbye to Don Knodel. Here’s the remembrance they’re sharing with the community:

In Loving Memory of Don Knodel

It is with great sadness that on 11/11/14 our father, grandfather, great grandfather, uncle, and friend, passed away. He was the anchor of the Knodel family and will be missed.

Donald Clayton Knodel was born in Chasely, ND and raised in Hurdsfield, ND. He was one of 8 children and lived there until he joined the Navy, where he served in World War II on the USS Howard W. Gilmore. He came home and married Audrey Jean Kelm, his wife of 64 years. Together they took a leap of faith and with their two young children moved from ND, to West Seattle where they lived out the rest of their lives.

Don owned and operated Don’s Barber Shop on California Ave. for 45 years. He was an avid sportsman his whole life, playing baseball and basketball in school, then in the men’s league in ND. Moving to WS he became a regular bowler at the W.S. Bowl, poker player, and was involved with W.S. Little League Baseball as a coach and umpire. He and Audrey were Totems hockey season ticket holders and original Seahawks season ticket holders. Fishing was his true passion with trips to Canada and up at Timberlakes. Don loved having family and friends around him, whether it was playing cards, dancing or just sitting around telling stories and laughing. Lots of laughing….

Preceded in death by his wife Audrey; 3 brothers – Durward, Al, Andy; 2 sisters – Doris and Joyce. He is survived by his children Dwight (Nik), Kath (Kelly), Pam (Tom); grandchildren Erin, Damon, Tyler, Ian, Kaley; 6 great-grandchildren; 2 sisters Opal, Irene; and countless friends and family who will miss, but never forget, him.

Service: 11/21/2014, 2 pm, Forest Lawn Funeral Home (6701 30th SW). Please join us in the celebration of his life at the Knodel residence following the service (4122 41st SW). If you wish, donations to the Alzheimer’s Foundation would be greatly appreciated.

(WSB publishes obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to editor@westseattleblog.com)

Local student Carmen Gray in national cooking contest finals

November 15, 2014 at 7:11 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 8 Comments

Congratulations to Carmen Gray, who is the only Pacific Northwest contender in the final round of a kids’ cooking contest. She and 24 others are in the running for the Ben’s Beginners grand prize – $30,000 for their school cafeteria, and $15,000 for the winner. Carmen is a 4th grader at Fairmount Park Elementary; her family explains that the prize money for the school can be used at its discretion: “Some possible uses are: a learning garden, composting program, and/or healthy food related artwork for the bare walls. As you know, the school is new and while we have all the basics, it is pretty stark in the cafeteria.” The contest sponsors also will present “a hometown celebration with an appearance by NY Chef Marcus Samuelsson.” Carmen entered by making a video for her recipe “Brown Rice Bean Burger” (using the sponsor’s product) and now needs votes to win. You can see her video and vote (no strings attached – you don’t have to sign up for anything, register, or take social-media action) by going here daily until November 26th. Good luck, Carmen!

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